For a long time I have appreciated the many positive benefits outdoor exercise offers to my mental health, so I was immediately interested in the title of William Pullen’s new book, ‘Run for your life’ – ‘Mindful running for a happy life’. In our ever-increasingly hectic lives surrounded by technology, which is seemingly intent on making us more sedentary, the need to take care of both our mental and physical health is more important than ever.
Dynamic Running Therapy
The introduction explained that Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) worked by linking the positive experiences of exercise (already so familiar to me) with talk therapy and mindfulness to provide a powerful tool to help understand your own emotions and help to deal with serious issues such as depression, anxiety and anger.
The author’s style is relaxed and immediately puts the reader at ease. DRT immediately feels like a lifestyle choice rather than a ‘boot camp’. A common theme running through the book is to ‘be kind to yourself’ and I certainly think this positive, kind vibe provides the ideal platform to embrace the techniques described.
After a grounding in the art of mindfulness and the four key stages of body, environment and emotion ‘scans’ followed by priming for the DRT session, subsequent chapters address how DRT can help us deal better with the key challenging life issues already mentioned. At the end of each chapter the author provides a series of questions upon which you are invited to base your DRT sessions, but again these are merely suggestions and the key is that this is a guide to provide a technique to address your own personal questions. The book provides space for your own notes of thoughts and feelings experienced along your journey, once you get over the apparent sin of writing in a book (I had a very strict 70’s primary teacher!) this is a fantastic way of tracking progress, reflecting and appreciating just how far you’ve come.
The book provides useful guidance into how you can run with a partner, friend or workmate to share the DRT process and whilst I’ve not tried this personally, I think it could be a really powerful tool. Loneliness and isolation are increasing and I’m curious whether embracing this technique as part of a pair would improve our ability to seek help and understanding from our community, family and friends.
The book explains that everyone’s journey with DRT will be different. It is okay to revisit difficult issues or questions as often as needed in order to get to a place where you are comfortable with your feelings, once again it’s clear that you must be kind and patient with yourself.
The author dedicates the final chapter to ‘The end of the rainbow’, explaining that endings are just as important as beginnings and carefully managing expectations of what the reader may be able to achieve with DRT, reminding us that we are best placed to recognize the point we have turned our own corner and that we provide ourselves with the peace, comfort and forgiveness we all long for to a certain extent.
The author uses pertinent quotations at key stages throughout the book and I think the prayer used in the ‘End of the rainbow’ chapter sums up for me perfectly what I hope to achieve with the help of this book and sound implementation of DRT:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr ‘Serenity Prayer’
William Pullen is a London based psychotherapist who helps people dealing with anxiety, lack of motivation and addiction. His book ‘Run for your life’ is published by Penguin available at all good book retailers including Amazon.
Disclosure: no payment, other than a copy of the book, was received for writing a review on this blog